Racism complaints in the Australian health system: An overview of existing approaches and some recommendations

Mandy Truong, Dominique Allen, Jocelyn Chan, Yin Paradies

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Patients from racial/ethnic minority backgrounds can experience racism and race-based discrimination in the health system, enduring unfair and inferior treatment that negatively affects physical and mental health and well-being and may, in some cases, lead to premature and avoidable death. Racism within the health system also acts as a deterrent to health care access because individuals may choose to avoid healthcare settings for fear of repeated exposure to racism. Racism and its impacts in health are well documented and health care-related regulatory organisations and antidiscrimination commissions in Australia are the recipients of racism complaints that occur within the health system. However, the extent and nature of complaints of racism in healthcare settings (i.e. self-reported incidents of racism) and how they are managed by regulatory organisations and antidiscrimination commissions are not well understood. This paper provides a summary of existing approaches to complaints in the Australian health system related to healthcare regulatory organisations and antidiscrimination commissions. We offer recommendations for improvements to data collection and dissemination of racism complaints to better understand the nature and extent of racism and race-based discrimination in the health system, and thus inform changes to process and practices that will reduce the incidence of racism and improve health outcomes. What is known about the topic?: Patient complaints of racism in the health system are received by health care-related regulatory organisations and antidiscrimination commissions. However, the extent and nature of the complaints of racism in healthcare settings and how they are managed are not well understood. What does the paper add?: This paper provides a summary of existing approaches to complaints in the Australian health system related to healthcare regulatory organisations and antidiscrimination commissions. We identify ways that existing complaints processes and mechanisms can be strengthened to enhance the safety and quality of patient care. What are the implications for practitioners?: Practitioners, healthcare managers and policy makers can enhance existing complaints processes and mechanisms in order to improve the collection and use of healthcare racism complaints that can inform strategies to reduce healthcare racism and improve patient care.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-4
    Number of pages4
    JournalAustralian Health Review
    Volume46
    Issue number1
    Early online dateNov 2021
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022

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